DOES GOD HAVE A ZAPPER?

LET’S GET THIS CLEAR: GOD DOES NOT “CAUSE” EVIL!  HE DOES NOT HAVE A ZAPPER THAT SHOOTS DOWN A LIGHTENING BOLT SIMPLY TO SEE HOW YOU SQUIRM.  

Theology is the study of God and I’m amazed how people fall for these cute little sayings trying to justify evil.  These guys who stand in pulpits today trying to “relate” should cease “speeching” and start “preaching” and maybe, just maybe people will learn that God didn’t and does not cause bad things to happen – whether they have been good or bad. Some will pull a verse here and there making it seem that God causes a child to die or an accident to happen, without reading the context or knowing who God is in Christ Jesus. 

We live in a fallen world! To fully understand what happened in the eons of time before the earth was created is above my pay-grade … and your’s, too.  But this we know:

when God created he “looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”

Genesis 1:31

Human beings allowed themselves to be deceived by “wrong theology” – [so to speak]. 

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The Woman said to the serpent, ‘Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

Genesis 3:2-3 (msg)

“The serpent told the Woman, ‘You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’”

Genesis 3:4-5 (msg)

Does anyone know how, what, when or why Satan rebelled against God?  No!  Apart from the Holy Bible we know very little, but speaking of Satan, Isaiah 14:12 says, ‘How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!’”  And Isaiah indicates in vv. 13 & 14 that this fallen angel wanted himself to be something more than an angel through pride.  “You said to yourself, ‘I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I’ll climb to the top of the clouds. I’ll take over as King of the Universe!’”  PRIDE!

Isaiah 14:13-14 (msg)

A shallow reading seems like God causes evil and makes bad things happen like an evil genius. 

IT. WAS. SIN. and DISOBEDIENCE, NOT GOD’S PLAN! 

God’s sense of justice demanded he give humans the freedom to choose.  Otherwise, he would simply be a celestial puppeteer.  So Eve chose to give in. 

“‘The serpent seduced me,” she said, ‘and I ate.’”

Genesis 3:13 (msg)

“GOD told the serpent: ‘Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed, cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals, Cursed to slink on your belly and eat dirt all your life. I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel.’

He told the Woman: ‘I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you.’ He told the Man: ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, ‘Don’t eat from this tree,’ the very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you’ll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you’ll get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.’”

Genesis 3:14-19 (msg)

God didn’t cause Adam and Eve to receive bad things.  It was a volitional choice on their part. 

Therefore, in this fallen world Jesus [God in human flesh] says, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Matthew 5:45 (niv)

This world is set in motion with immutable laws of the universe; some visible and some invisible; some tangible and some spiritual. 

Does God always protect us in all circumstances?  No! 

Does God heal all diseases?  No!

Does he give us answers to everything?  No! 

Is this an exhaustive study answering all questions about the subject?  No!

But this we know: His eternal, everlasting love will be manifested in all things.  He will not always protect you from cancer, but your faith in him will bring you a joy you have never known and bless people around you, maybe to their salvation. 

As with  HORATIO G. SPAFFORD.  Successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago.  Wonderful family.   Living a beautiful life. Then, his son died with pneumonia in 1871.  Later that year,  the great Chicago fire occurred and he lost his business. In 1873, his wife and their four young daughters took an ocean liner to Europe.  Mr. Spafford was to join them later.  Four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, an accident caused the ship to sink and all four children drowned.  Mrs. Spafford was found hanging on to some debris.  Later, they had another son who also died. Through these awful tragedies and sufferings, Mr. Spafford wrote:      🎼🎶

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, 

Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

“Though Satan should buffet,

Tho’ trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, 

And hath shed his own blood for my soul.

“It is well (it is well) 

with my soul, (with my soul),

It is well, it is well with my soul.”

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

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Save Me From Sniffles

HEALING! OH, YES.  WE WANT IT NOW.  NO SUFFERING, NO PROBLEMS, NO HURT.  Everything from the sniffles to devastating illnesses – “heal me Jesus!”

When Jesus walked the shores of Galilee, were his disciples ever sick or tempted?  Did they ask Jesus to protect them?  If so, there is no record of him saying to Bartholomew, “No more sniffles.” Or to James the Less, “You won’t have an ear ache any more.”  Zap!  Bingo!  Yes, they were scared from time to time. They got angry.  They were uncertain in certain situations.   I can’t find where Jesus protected them from temptation either. The key was – they left everything to follow Jesus. Talk about total commitment!

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6 (niv)

🎼🎶🎹

“Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed

To resist some temptation strong;

When for my deep grief there is no relief,

Though my tears flow all the night long?

“Does Jesus care when my way is dark

With a nameless dread and fear?

As the daylight fades into deep night shades,

Does He care enough to be near?

“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

(Frank E. Graeff)

 

HONOR CAREGIVERS

RONNIE MILSAP SANG, “Please don’t tell me how the story ends.”  It’s about the end of a love affair,  but one of the lines caught my attention when THINKING OF CAREGIVERS.  It says,

“Just let me go on loving and believing – ‘till it’s over.

Please don’t tell me how the story ends.”

Children of the elderly or spouses, are susceptible to the pathology of depression, guilt, anger, fatigue, arguing, insomnia, anxiety, resentment and exhaustion when acting as CAREGIVER.  In fact, being in the assisted living business, it has been necessary for my administrator to ask a caregiver to take some time off due to their being overwhelmed.  The constant drip-drip of demands  and activities of daily living such as toileting, dressing, eating, ambulating, medication, etc., start to bring on frustration exhibited by impatience and yelling at the patient.

As a general rule, caregivers don’t recognize their mental and emotional anguish. The sad thing is that in many cases the caregiver will take on the symptoms of the person they are caring for – even death.  Or, they start to neglect their own care and health.

Caregivers are givers and hesitate to admit their exasperation and guilt.  Little by little a dark resentment gathers steam in their heart and mind.  Too often they will say, “I don’t know if there is a God, but if there is, he sure doesn’t know what I’m going through!”

To caregivers I say, “if you really, really want to, you could find a way to take a day or two off – frequently! You may need sleep. You may need to eat a quiet, healthful meal with someone.  You may need to talk with a friend. Mothers of small children should talk with an adult … frequently. Seeking out professional help should be considered.”

YES. YOU. CAN!   If you want to.

Here are seven things to think about from the pen of Paul.

“(1) Don’t worry about anything; (2) instead pray about everything.

(3) Tell God what you need,

(4) thank him for all he has done.  (5) Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.

(6) His peace will guard your hearts and minds

(7) as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7    🎼🎶🎹

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

Too deeply for mirth or song,

As the burdens press, and the cares distress,

And the way grows weary and long?

“Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,

I know my Savior cares.”

(Frank E. Graef)

“God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have …  plenty left over to share with others.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 (nlt)

CAREGIVERS ARE GOD’S HELPERS AND NEED OUR LOVE AND SUPPORT!

Are We Warthogs?

IF THERE IS NO GOD,  NO HEREAFTER, NOTHING MORE THAN THE PHYSICAL floating through millennia of transmutation, why do we sometimes hurt deeply in our soul?  Why don’t we die like a dog or mosquito or a fish in the ocean?  What’s the big deal!

Why is it that for the last 6,000 years human beings have yearned for a supreme being making gods of wood and gold?  Who put the hunger in our heart for love, purity, moral conscience, for order?   What about that yearning to live forever?  If we are animal only with no hereafter what, then, is the big deal about dying – we just disappear, rot away in the dirt?  To the dialectical materialist/Left/communist crowd, you and your family are only economic animals to be manipulated for what they would interpret as the good for the whole of society.  Are human beings possessor of some kind of strange spirit that other creatures don’t have; or, does a dragonfly have what we have?  A cow, horse, warthog, grasshopper?   If we are no different, why not feed the hungry with human meat?

NO! A thousand times NO!

“In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people. But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.”

Ephesians 2:1-5 (ncv)

 

To the eternal God the writer of Hebrews wrote: “‘You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.’”

Hebrews 2:7 (nlt)

 

“Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but we received the Spirit that is from God so that we can know all that God has given us.”

1 Corinthians 2:12 (ncv)

 

“I want [you] to be strengthened and joined together with love so that [you] may be rich in [your] understanding. This leads to [your] knowing fully God’s secret, that is, Christ himself.  In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept. I say this so that no one can fool you by arguments that seem good, but are false.  “When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins.”

Colossians 2:2-4, 13 (ncv)

 

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24 (ncv)

You are not just a piece of evolutionary meat roaming the desert of confusion.  You are a spirit longing to join the Spirit of God Almighty.  Your spirit is that something God put within you that gives you the ability to have an intimate relationship with God through the redeeming sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for the penalty of your sin and mine!

CITIZENS OF ETERNITY

WHEN WE STEP ON THE PROPERTY OF THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN A FOREIGN LAND WE STEP INTO AMERICAN TERRITORY, OWNED LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – but there is an exception; ownership is by agreement. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 Embassy property is owned by the sending state and is agreed to in Article 21-22:

Article 21

The receiving State shall either facilitate the acquisition on its territory, in accordance with its laws, by the sending State of premises necessary for its mission or assist the latter in obtaining accommodation in some other way. 2. It shall also, where necessary, assist missions in obtaining suitable accommodation for their members.

Article 22

The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.

Therefore, we can state with confidence that when we step on Embassy property of the United States, we have entered America. As it is now spiritually, we are living in a foreign land, but our homeland is in heaven. Philippians 3:20 encourages us to rejoice because “we are CITIZENS of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.”

 

What’s Your Story?

EVERYONE HAS A STORY. THERE ARE GIVERS AND THERE ARE TAKERS, the gave-uppers and the overcomers. There are those who suffered great tragedy, those who committed great sin, but through their tears and broken hearts they held on just one more hour.

God told Moses to lead, but he was a stutterer and had killed a guy.

David was just a kid when he became a hero.  But as king he let his hormones get the best of him and had the husband of the object of his affection killed.

Hosea the prophet happened to marry a prostitute.

Peter cut a guy’s ear off.

Paul went around killing Christians.

O, BUT THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO and in the Bible to boot, you say. Nevertheless, that was their story. What’s your’s?

I’M NOT FREE TO REVEAL a name, but I know of a prince-of-a-man, friend of my dad, who was born of a prostitute under a bridge in the early 1900s before there was a system in place to take care of him. Some Christian people, members of a little clapboard church found him when he was 6 years of age, and took him to Sunday School.  He gave his heart to Christ. They nurtured him along the way. He grew up, went to a Christian college with no money, could not pay tuition, and slept on the lawn for three days. The college authorities had compassion, gave him a job as a plumber; he graduated and became a leader in his church denomination. So what is your story?

A CONFUSED MAN stumbled into our little church located on a dirt road in a rather poor part of town. We gave him a job at $5.00 per week helping to clean the church. He couldn’t read or write. He came forward to accept Christ as his personal Savior. With him, he brought his two little daughters or maybe they brought him. What a sight that was; kneeling in front with his little 7 year old daughters as they hugged him, all three with tears streaming down their cheeks. They lived in a little house built with soda pop signs picked up along the dirt road. The floors were swept clean – made not with hardwood, but dirt. The first time I visited them the little girls were sweeping the dirt floor with weeds. It was clean as a pin. I saw them grow and learn as they came to church, hair combed and clean, excited to learn more about Jesus.  That’s their story. What’s your’s?   🎼🎶🎹

“Keep holding on, just one more hour

May bring to thee the promised pow’r;

Keep holding on, thy Lord doth care,

He’ll not forget to answer prayer.

“Keep holding on, keep holding on,

The victory will soon be won;

The longest day will soon be gone,

Keep holding on, keep holding on.

“Keep holding on, Christ knows thy need,

He doth the hungry sparrows feed;

Keep holding on, He’ll hear thy cry,

Thy Lord is watching from on high.”

(William C. Poole)

“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

Matthew 25:23

LOVE!

LOVE! THE TRUE MEANING HAS BEEN PERVERTED FOR SO LONG  BY HOLLYWOOD USING SOUND AFFECTS, PICTURES and PLATITUDES disguised as profound until we’ve essentially resorted to making it entirely physical.  A good example is the 1970 movie with Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, LOVE STORY.  A memorable line is, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  [O how sweet!]  Not too many people can define LOVE. Our culture, philosophy, education and experiences all influence the way we think of LOVE.  

I guess Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald defined and sang LOVE this way:

“I’ve got the world on a string

I’m sitting on a rainbow

Got that string around my finger

What a world, what a life; I’m in love.”  (Ted Koehler)
In the 1960’s our culture redefined LOVE to mean a whole list of decadent behaviors.  Our American “enlightenment” has proven The Scriptural statement:  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7 (kjv))  Using the ’60s definitions & behaviors, one could do anything, act any way, and as long as its called love, all is OK!  I think the 60s is when the innocuous statement got started, [gotta sing it] “luv yeew.”  No you don’t and I don’t!  But as long as we kind of sing it, it legitimizes it. True LOVE goes beyond and above.  LOVE is willing to go to the mat, make any sacrifice, lift any load, go the second mile, and do all this without complaining. 

 Do I have the ability to define LOVE apart from the Word of God?  No!  But the Apostle Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  penned one of the most memorable, declamatory and eloquent chapters in the Bible writing to the Corinthians.  

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t LOVE others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t LOVE others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t LOVE others, I would have gained nothing. LOVE is patient and kind. LOVE is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. LOVE never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But LOVE will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and LOVE —and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (nlt)

“Because of His great LOVE for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”

Ephesians 2:4-8 (niv)

“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the LOVE of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5 (nlt)

“Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13 (kjv) 

🎼🎶🎹

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade;

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.

“Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.”

(Frederick M. Lehman)

THE ANSWER

DO YOU REMEMBER GOMER PYLE?  His famous statement was, “Surprise! Surprise!”  Permit me to surprise you.  There are some things that I just don’t know!  And neither do you.  

When I walk into my garage, get into my car, and turn the key, I don’t really know if the car will start.  When I drive down the street I am believing it will be a safe journey.  I make plans for tomorrow, but I don’t know if I’ll be around, make it through the night.  

I have so many questions about life, things that happen; why people suffer, why this and why that?  I just don’t know why my heart hurts.  Why did things happen the way they did?  Will I ever make it?  Where is God when I suffer?  You’ve been there, haven’t you!

Things happen in life that seem to be disastrous.  You may have unsolvable marriage problems.  Your business may be on the verge of bankruptcy.  You went to a formal banquet with your employer and you coughed tea through your nose.  You stumped your toe on the bed frame.  You or a family member developed a devastating health crisis.  Why, O Lord, why? 

The natural response to bad things is to say, “God, if you loved me, why did you let this happen?”

Surprise! Surprise!  We don’t need to know everything.  What we need to know is the comfort in knowing that the One Who is in charge knows exactly the answer and He has the power to work things out to our good and His glory!

How does this work?

“Entering into this fullness is not something you figure out or achieve. It’s not a matter of being circumcised or keeping a long list of laws. No, you’re already in —insiders—not through some secretive initiation rite but rather through what Christ has already gone through for you, destroying the power of sin. If it’s an initiation ritual you’re after, you’ve already been through it by submitting to baptism. Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.

“Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

“So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? ‘Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!’  Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.”

Colossians 2:11-15, 18-23 (msg)

In my book, Write It On My Heart, some of my readers were puzzled about the chapter on Peace.  I think it was because I used the word, ESSENCE!  It is the last chapter of the book.  I quote: 

“Eureka! I’ve got the answer.  It suddenly dawned on me.  Essence! (Remember that word.) We want stuff now. No waiting in line, no diversions, no excuses, no problems, no sorrow, no worry, no hurt, no pain, no misunderstanding, no suffering, no stink, no bum-rap, and no complaints!  Sorry, Charlie! It ain’t a-gonna happen on this earth!”  There is a Greek word,  that means slave – δολος.  It is used all through the Bible in the context of surrender to the will of God through Christ.  “So make up your mind.  If you are going to follow the Master, give it up!  Surrender!  There is a peace that passes all understanding.  It goes far beyond your pain.  It goes far beyond your sorrow.  If you want that liberating release from misunderstanding, blame, and God-questioning hurt, you just gotta make up your mind to be a slave of the one who is saving you for eternity.  That’s the essence of it all!”  

Jesus, in John 16:33 says: “In the godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart! I’ve conquered the world!”

“Coming to Jesus,

My Savior I’ve found

Wonderful peace, wonderful peace.

Storms in their fury may rage all around;

I have peace, sweet peace.

Peace, peace, wonderful peace!

Peace, peace, glorious peace!

Since my Redeemer has ransomed my soul

I have peace, sweet peace.

(Haldor Lillenas) 

SKEPTICS AND THE SUPERNATURAL

NATURAL LAWS ARE FIXED!  THEY ARE DECLARED IN ADVANCE. 

They are foreseeable, calculable and certain.  They are constant and consistent.  The only force or Person who can alter, reconstruct or overrule those immutable, permanent laws is some cosmic force way out there in the somewhere, OR … we know Him as The Supernatural, Almighty, Ontological, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omnicient Creator GOD!  He is supernatural.  He is the miracle-producing God.  He is here and everywhere.  He is out there and in here.  His power cannot be calculated and His love is beyond intellectual understanding.  When God overrules natural law we know it as … supernatural!

When you believed by faith in the saving mercy of God through Christ Jesus, when you gave your heart to God, you entered the world of the supernatural.  You were brought from death to eternal life.  There is physical death and there is spiritual death.  Only by the supernatural can physical death defy the law of nature.  Only by the supernatural can a spiritually dead human being be snatched from the jaws of eternal death.  

Most of us are natural skeptics. The Bible is filled with illustrations of skeptics. In the Gospel of John chapter 11, 

(1)  Lazarus died in the town of Bethany while Jesus was beyond the Jordan River.

(2)  Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus sent a message to Jesus notifying him that Lazarus was near death.

(3)  Jesus didn’t answer.

(4)  After two days, he told his disciples that they should go back to Bethany.

(5)  His disciples warned him that he could be killed there by the bad guys in Jerusalem.

(6)  He went anyway.

(7)  He was met by Martha, the skeptic, saying: “You’re late and its your fault.  Lazarus is dead!”

Jesus answered Martha’s skepticism assuring her that Lazarus would live again, but her anger kept her from believing.  In the two verses (vv. 25-26) following this skeptical exchange, Jesus uses the word believe three times.  Then, Mary showed up with a bunch of wailing people, probably blowing their noses and shouting their anger.  Jesus was deeply hurt;  indignant and deeply troubled.  In the only time in recorded history it says that “Jesus wept,” the shortest verse in the Bible.

The religious leaders stood on the side expressing their skepticism.  “He healed that blind guy, why couldn’t he keep Lazarus from dying?”

Then Jesus said, “You do something first and then I’ll do something.  Roll the stone away; the one right there in front of the cave!”  Martha, holding her nose, shrieked, “Eew, its gonna stink!”  Jesus answered, “But didn’t I tell you that you will see a wonderful miracle from God IF YOU BELIEVE?”  Holding her nose, Martha directed a bunch of guys to roll the stone away.

Almighty God in the flesh, Jesus of Nazareth, defied nature and called for Lazarus to come forth, and sure enough, out comes this guy wrapped in white stuff (I think) and Jesus ordered the people to unwrap him.  

Guess what?  It was Lazarus.  It was a supernatural act of God, a miracle.  I’ve never seen that happen, but I believe it.  And, I believe him.  When I believed, it was a miracle, supernatural! 

  🎼🎶🎹

“Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters;

Chained like a slave, I struggled in vain.

But I received a glorious freedom

When Jesus broke by fetters in twain.

“Glorious freedom!

Wonderful freedom!

No more in chains of sin I repine!

Jesus, the glorious Emancipator!

Now and forever He shall be mine”

(Haldor Lillenas)